According to Brandon Hall’s annual LMS trends survey, 2012 47% of organizations wanted to replace their LMSs and more than 58% of these organizations had implemented their current system only in the previous two years or less. But the decision of replacing or going for a new LMS system is not a simple process. It needs huge investments and resources.
To make your selection process simple, I have come up with six basic considerations in choosing an LMS.
Scalability in terms of features
Check with your vendor how adept is he in customizing an LMS based on your requirements. Different clients have varying requirements, so a vendor should be technically adept at customizing an LMS. Remember there’s no one piece for all the requirements when it comes to the LMS. Ask your vendor for demos and screenshots of the customization work they have done for their clients.
Scalability in terms of size
Check if your LMS provider can scale along with your expanding organization. Can it be scaled from 25 users to ten and thousands of users. How reliable is the capacity of the system to absorb the increasing levels of usage? For example, you want an LMS for your sales team to access the course, and in future you may have plans to expand the LMS to various other departments; so check whether your LMS can expand with increasing levels of usage.
The most important factor to consider is cost, What is the total cost of setting and hosting the LMS? Are there any hidden charges that come after purchasing the LMS? Make sure you get a quote for all the costs associated with your LMS purchase. The main objective of any organization irrespective of the size will be to get a cost-effective solution. Every dollar spent from training budgets has to be justified. It is suggested that organizations can opt for open source LMS, where the initial licensing does not exist. Open source LMSs such as Moodle is built by Moodle partners and by a community of practitioners who can provide support to users and the costs are low when compared to the cost of licensed LMSs.
Open source LMS is usually built by a community of practitioners and therefore knowledge sharing and troubleshooting can be possible through online forums and discussion groups that cater specifically to users.
Support from vendors
Once you have purchased the learning management system does your LMS vendor disappear? How is their customer service like? Do they provide online or live customer support? Will they be able to promptly respond to your requests in solving your problems? Support is the key component when it comes to choosing an LMS because the organizations expect a lot of support from the vendors in order to get the best out of their LMS investment. The support may be in the form of training on working with LMS, administration support and periodic upgradation of the LMS.
Since the demand for mobile learning has increased, check if the LMS can track mobile learning activities, if the LMS has support for Tin Can Api to track Mobile activities like mobile learning, games, social learning, etc. And the third most important aspect is to check whether the LMS can provide collaborative features like discussion forums, blogs, social media, chat forums and delivery of messages. They help monitor learner groups and evaluate their progress.
Tracking and reporting
Your training programs will be like crops planted on a barren land if there are no reporting features. According to a survey by Brandon Hall, when the respondents were asked to point out three areas of dissatisfaction in their LMS, the LMS’s “Reporting Feature” was the respondent’s top pick.
Keeping the records of learners’ learning activities is an obligation for organizations. This can help organizations report to address the regulatory laws and also define the learning gaps.
Have a look at these considerations before you place an order for LMS. Regardless of how great and gigantic the LMS merchant is, ask for a free trial or demo to have a look and feel of the LMS. You can choose open source LMSs like Moodle, which according to eLearning Guild Report, is more intuitive, easy to work with and can be customized In any manner that we may require.
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